After making headlines by deciding to play in the NBA G-League instead of playing collegiate basketball, Jalen Green is now catching the eye of NBA coaches.
Among them is Bill Bayno, an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers who also coached the Talk 'N Text franchise in 2002.
In an online coaching seminar over the weekend, Bayno was informed that the 18-year-old Green is of Filipino descent, with his mother tracing her roots to Ilocos Sur.
"They're saying that he's an absolute, one-and-done, surefire Top 10 pick," Bayno said of Green.
"I haven't seen him play, but the hype on him - he has absolutely a bright future in the NBA," he added.
Green made history when he opted to turn down offers from NCAA Division 1 schools and instead play in the NBA G League. He signed a contract worth at least $500,000 to take part in the G League's professional pathway with the intent of declaring for the NBA Draft a year later.
Aside from Green, Bayno is also looking forward to seeing Remy Martin, another Fil-Am guard who declared for the NBA Draft after playing Division 1 basketball in Arizona State University.
But the former TNT coach hopes to one day see a homegrown Filipino in the NBA as well, and believes that 7-foot prospect Kai Sotto can be the first one to make the breakthrough.
Sotto is currently part of The Skill Factory in Atlanta, and is listed as a four-star recruit by most services.
"Kai may be your first. He may be the first Filipino," said Bayno. "I can remember saying that back in 2001, that eventually, there's gonna be an NBA player coming from the Philippines, it's just a matter of time."
The online coaching seminar was organized by former Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia, who worked with Bayno in Talk 'N Text.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).